The upsides of up-skilling in older age
If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of having some basic computer and technology skills as you age, to ensure you’re not missing out on everyday connections with friends and family.
“These days, the world is online, so if you’re not, chances are you’re going to be missing out,” says Bonnie Robinson, HBH Senior Living CEO. “If you do have at least some basic skills, such as knowing how to use Facebook or Zoom, watching a video on YouTube or sending a text, you’ll be much more able to cope and manage during challenging times like these.”
“The pandemic has highlighted the need to understand technology, but that’s not the only reason you may be locked down as you get older,” says Bonnie. “You may be ill or recovering from an operation – or simply not able to get out and about as much. Knowing how to use technology means you can still connect with others, which can really improve your wellbeing as you age – loneliness and isolation have been proven to be as bad for your health as smoking.”
“Aside from keeping in touch with family and friends being online means you can access a wide range of services from home. For example, many medical practices will do online consultations these days, which can be a real advantage if you don’t have transport, or don’t want to go out and sit in a waiting room.”
Having friends and family visit has always been a vital part of HBH Senior Living’s philosophy of care, so the restrictions of the past two years have been hard for everyone. However, technology has enabled us to keep families connected, and to that end HBH has initiated an online booking system, which we’ve been able to adapt as restrictions change.
“Technology means you can continue to be connected and involved in a way that’s a lot harder to do without it,” reiterates Bonnie. “Many of our residents have been able to enjoy video calls during the lockdowns because staff have been there to support them in using technology. Residents have been able to see their grandchildren or great-grandchildren wherever they live, in some cases far more often than they would in person. Technology can be really magical for families and we need to make sure that older people are able to participate in this magic.”
If you have an older family member who is struggling with technology, ask if you can teach them how to use Facebook, Facetime, Zoom or YouTube, or to send texts. There really is no downside to staying connected to loved ones!